It’s the first day of January, 2013 … a fresh new start, or that is how it feels. The idea of having a start and a finish line with the calendar year, lends itself to good possibilities to reflect on the past, extract the good and renew our determination to make more of the next 365 days than we did of the last.

I want that personally in every aspect of my life.

Making more of the new year may not come as you would imagine. It may not involve going faster, working harder, more self-discipline … you can add to this all-too-familiar list. Rather than pushing yourself to the limit, it may be more about pacing yourself so that you savor each day and sprint across the finish line. The race, contrary to popular opinion does not always go to the swiftest.

I reminded myself, looking at a speed limit sign, that posted speeds are clearly marked “Maximum”. The highways in New Brunswick are filled with harried people who believe that the maximum is actually a minimum speed. My wife, undoubtedly my better 3/4’s, will often sputter at slower drivers (I include myself in this category.) and say, “They could at least drive the speed limit.” Paraphrased it sounds to me like, “They could at least drive as fast as they can.”

That sounds strange to me but it is common thought for hurried individuals.

I don’t want to be hurried in 2013.

Time passes all too quickly as it is.

I want to stand still on escalators and people movers. I’d like to not be frustrated by lines and even choose the longer one by times. it might be good to take a few more scenic routes this year. They are always slower and the company is far better.

I can get where I want, when I want by allowing for the journey.

That’s the essence of life itself. It’s not about a 70 year mad dash from the cradle to the grave … it’s about allowing for the journey. If you do that, the journey is more about slowing down than speeding up and pulling over periodically to take a mental snapshot or just to go to the bathroom.

Every time I get on the highway, I make a decision as to whether I am going to enter a race or go for a drive. My experience, though not normative or definitive, tells me that there is more room behind the pack than there is ahead of it. The limit is a maximum, not a minimum. If I am trying to stay ahead of everyone, I am pushing someone else.

I have had far too much of being pushed by people who make no allowance for the journey. As a staff pastor in church, I have been driven by my “boss” toward some dubious goal, embellished by rhetoric, impoverished by the reality. In the church at least, we (some) tend to take ourselves far too seriously. Even there, we have forgotten to allow for the journey.

On the highway I see them coming in my rear view. They travel in packs like mindless lemmings and they swarm and buzz quickly beyond me. I chuckle to myself as I watch them go wondering where they are hurrying to stop. Naturally they see me as a bottleneck, an interruption to their race. They are likely chuckling as well, more likely cursing that I am not driving as fast as I can.

You decide how you want to travel. If you are in the lemming lane, remember that the driver you pass is determining his/her own pace and ask yourself if you really need to hurry the process of time so relentlessly.

Lily Tomlin once mused, “The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat.”

Happy New Year!